It’s Here Today: Integrating Virtual Reality Into Business
Robert Johnson, Concept3D's Vice President of Sales, discusses how VR is not just the future but the present.
Virtual reality (VR) is not far out in the future – it is now. VR is being used across all industries in many ways and is helping businesses grow. No matter how big or small the company, virtual reality can benefit operations, sales and marketing, planning, design, and much more. And today more than ever, VR is approachable and can be integrated into workflows without significant cost.
Whether you are a professional American football player or a driver for UPS, companies worldwide are using virtual reality for job training. Also, colleges like the Texas A&M University (a Concept3D client for full disclosure) are using virtual campus tours to highlight their campus and give hopefully future students a powerful and memorable idea about what the campus and school culture are all about. These are but a few ways that virtual reality can be used in business. Below I dive into more detail on various business applications of VR and immersive experiences.
Big Data Visualisation
In its raw form, big data can be incredibly difficult to understand and work with. Companies across the globe are struggling with a massive influx of data, data that is imperative for many businesses to thrive and grow. And while spreadsheets, pie charts and bar graphs will always play a role in making sense of data, it only scratches the surface of its meaning. Businesses are always looking for new ways to interpret big data, and VR has the potential to change the big data game.
Visualising data is a new frontier, and VR – while not necessary for visualising the data – can take it to a whole level. VR makes data more interactive, as employees can move through it, see what they want to see and how changes would reflect on physical and digital twins (twinning). The digital twinning approach is incredibly powerful, especially for companies that have massive inventory and physical asset to manage. Visualising data through VR also allows you to view large amounts of data at a glance, determining which is most relevant to the project. In short, VR can make understanding big data easier, faster, and more comprehensive – leading to better decision making.
Employee Communications & Training
VR and immersive platforms have the advantage of being able to communicate in multiple dimensions, and therefore make an ideal tool for employee communications and training. Think back to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books – training can be set up as a self-guided tour and become so realistic that employees can gain powerful knowledge of the inside of an engine, a below-ground facility, sites and instruments they may never actually touch. They can view the entirety of a site from a bird’s eye view, or dive down into a single interface.
Regardless of your industry, you should be considering how you can use VR for training and education. In preparation for 2017 Black Friday and the holiday season, Walmart uses VR simulations to train their employees. Because every situation can be accurately visualised and made real, your planning and decision-making within the company will improve.
Virtual Company Tours
Step one for anybody interested in your company is visiting your website. Using VR-ready virtual tours inspire them to learn more by exploring, take the next steps on their journey to take a deeper look at all your physical (or planned) locations have to offer.
Virtual tours can be as simple as a call-out of locations or a complete, immersive VR experience. Today, tours can easily be built in-house with off-the-shelf software, integrating 360-degree or standard images, and offering a fun and compelling way to showcase your location or locations. For example, Hotel Covington in Kentucky, has a virtual tour that explores all areas of their space, so future guests can know what to expect upon check-in.
Integrating a virtual tour into your business is a simple yet powerful way to gain brand and company awareness by bring audiences around the world right to your location with the click of a button.
Human Resources and Recruiting
What is it like to work at your organisation? VR can help attract the right employees for your company with unique experiences that show how your company operates, what it’s like to work there, and (using 3D virtual tours) the physical location and offices where employees would work.
Virtual tours can help future talent to better understand your company’s ethos and work culture and as a result help your business to stand out among other companies. INDUSTRY, a creative workspace in Denver, CO, has a VR tour of their office spaces in order to attract the right potential business and employees to use the space.
Marketing and Sales
Say goodbye to static 2D presentations and hello to immersive 3D materials that will help your business grow. For example, are you pitching a pre-production product? Create a 360° tour of the product where clients or employees will be able not only visualise, but better understand your company mission.
Another example is at the Pack Expo Trade Show, Key Technology, a manufacturer and designer of food processing systems, created a VR demo that allowed attendees to experience a detailed, hands-on look at how the company’s VERYX digital food sorting platform works. By using VR within your marketing and sales strategy you will eliminate doubt, and become one step closer to a lasting business relationship.
Immersive technology is also redefining the design space. From creating the layout of a mass retail store, to wedding planning, or interior design of a celebrity client – VR makes sketches come to life. Event planning and room design can be visualised and seen far before anyone starts setting up tables and chairs.
For example, do you want to make sure that your brand-new product looks great in a major retailer? VR can help you plan out exactly what your point-of-purchase (POP) should look like and how it should be set up. Don’t leave your POP design in the old ways when virtual reality can take it to the next level.
VR is the here and now. Companies across the world are integrating this technology into the daily operations of their companies, from employee training to visualising big data.